OGC Abandons the Web

Those are my words, not theirs.

It came to light today that OGC has decided to withdraw the GeoServices REST Specification, also known as the “ESRI REST API,” as a proposed standard. I will not take up the relative merits of the specification or the implications of OGC potentially adopting an industry-developed specification that has so much implied workflow embedded in it. With this decision, three facts remain unaltered:

  1. The ESRI REST API will continue forward as a widely-used de facto standard in the form of ArcGIS Server installs and other emulations, such as that in Arc2Earth.
  2. GeoJSON will continue forward as a widely-used de facto standard in the form of numerous open-source implementations.
  3. OGC still has no JSON syntax.

Yes, twelve years after the birth of JSON, five years after the release of the ESRI REST API and its embedded JSON syntax, and five years after the release of GeoJSON 1.0, OGC is still has no entry in the JSON space. Between Esri and GeoJSON, the utility of JSON in web mapping applications has been roundly proven. In the ESRI arena, find me anyone who willingly uses the SOAP API these days while the adoption of support for GeoJSON across the open-source GIS world speaks volumes. The industry has voted with its feet and its code as to what it prefers.

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Arc2Earth: Choose Your ‘Cloud’

For various reasons, I can’t attend today’s inaugural FedGeoDay at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC, though I’ll be watching the hashtag with great interest. Jack Flood of Arc2Earth, however, has already posted his slides to SlideShare:

[slideshare id=16811994&w=427&h=356&sc=no]

 

While neither ArcMap nor Arc2Earth are open-source themselves, Jack points out that Arc2Earth acts as a bridge between ArcMap and several geospatial hosting platforms that are built on open-source technology but, also just as important, are successful at making data more openly available. These platforms include CartoDB and MapBox, among many others.

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GeoIQ & Esri

Okay, everybody calm the hell down. Anyone who thinks that the Esri acquisition of GeoIQ is strange hasn’t been paying attention to two things: 1) the direction that Esri says they want to go and 2) what the GeoIQ platform really is. I would be very surprised if GeoIQ becomes the 2012 version of Atlas GIS. This acquisition/merger makes more sense than may be initially apparent.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eyFiClAzq8]

It’s no secret that I’ve worked with Esri tools for a long time and my recent work with the GeoIQ platform has been well-documented on this blog, including work integrating the two platforms at the API level. Based on what I’ve seen from both companies, here are thoughts on why I think this move makes a lot of sense:

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AGIO Puts the Data First

I read Learon Dalby’s latest GISuser.com expert column (disclosure: I am a contributor there also) with great interest since it addresses an issue with which I have worked closely over the years: availability of GIS data in a time of crisis. Over the years, the proliferation of “operating pictures” (you’re not in style unless you have your own UDOP) and other systems has obscured the fact that the data is really what matters. Certain segments of the community, especially those more focused on man-made disasters rather than the natural variety, have gotten very good at putting multiple layers of technology, services, security, policy, etc. between GIS data and the people who need it.

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Ten-Second Tidy

Things have been a bit hectic the last few weeks and that’s left little time for blogging. Quite a bit has happened so I thought I’d do a little round-up (if for no other reason than to clear my own head).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJa7P6dfmco]

In no particular order:

Steve Coast to Microsoft (I told you it had been a while) – Firstly, congratulations to Steve (#sincerity). Secondly, this clearly is the final proof that crowd-sourced data in general, and OpenStreetMaps (sic) in particular, has no real value when compared to “authoritative” data sources (#sarcasm).

Google Fusion Tables – The only real problem at this point is the size limitation but, otherwise, this will be a game-changer for storing and sharing data. In its current form, it’s already fairly easy to push your data up and expose it through Google’s APIs. It’ll be interesting to see if it gets easier. Support for spatial queries hints at some analytical capability, too. Speaking of which…

Analytics in GeoCommons – This is one to watch. They are debuting a new function each day on their blog. FortiusOne builds their platform API-first, UI-second so everything they are showing should be exposed through their APIs. This will be a huge step in moving cloud-based geospatial technology from the “bit-bucket” stage to having a more complete workflow on the cloud infrastructure.

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